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New Proton SUV to put Malaysia-China relations to the test

Joint project offers Geely route to crucial Southeast Asian markets

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad took center stage at the launch of the Proton X70 on Dec. 12. (Photo by CK Tan)

KUALA LUMPUR/HONG KONG -- China and Malaysia are placing hopes on a new sport utility vehicle turning around the fortunes of ailing carmaker Proton Holdings, as well as chilled bilateral ties.

The Proton X70, an SUV being built in partnership with China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, was launched on Dec.12, with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad taking center stage.

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